This has been a theme of conversation within the groups that I facilitate and with friends who have lost a loved one lately. There have been so many changes over time. The death of their person is still, after all this time, affecting their lives. Family dynamics have changed, sometimes financial stability, the home, the career, on and on we can go.
My one friend said, I am grieving the loss of my son, but I am also grieving the loss of myself. I have changed.
Someone else said, my relationship with my family has changed. I didn’t notice it at first, but we are different together now.
Or, I used to love my job, but it just doesn’t do anything for me anymore. I am looking for a new one now. I miss the passion.
These changes can happen soon after the death, or they can happen over time. Sometimes even years after the death. Sometimes they are obvious and sometimes they are subtle. You might hardly notice them and then one day wake up and realize.
There can be a grief response to this grief experience too. The ongoing changes can feel, at the very least, tiring. There can be a sense of when will life be normal again. It is so important to be gentle with yourself if you experience this. The emotions that show up might be surprising. Frustration, sadness, loneliness, perhaps even anger are just some of the things you might be feeling. I want you to know that this too is a normal part of grieving. That you will find the capacity to hold these experiences with compassion towards others and yourself.
To accept the changes in your life and to acknowledge how it affects you – that is the work of grief. Be Gentle.